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The time‐course of speech perception revealed by temporally‐sensitive neural measures

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Abstract Recent advances in cognitive neuroscience have provided a detailed picture of the early time‐course of speech perception. In this review, we highlight this work, placing it within the broader context of research on the neurobiology of speech processing, and discuss how these data point us toward new models of speech perception and spoken language comprehension. We focus, in particular, on temporally‐sensitive measures that allow us to directly measure early perceptual processes. Overall, the data provide support for two key principles: (a) speech perception is based on gradient representations of speech sounds and (b) speech perception is interactive and receives input from higher‐level linguistic context at the earliest stages of cortical processing. Implications for models of speech processing and the neurobiology of language more broadly are discussed. This article is categorized under: Psychology > Language Psychology > Perception and Psychophysics Neuroscience > Cognition
Time‐course of speech processing. (a) Real‐time neural measures have revealed the early time‐course over which different types of information are represented. Evidence that listeners encode fine‐grained detail in phonetic cues is found as early as 100 ms after stimulus onset (Noe & Fischer‐Baum, in press; Sarrett et al., submitted; Toscano et al., 2010), evidence of phonological feature and/or lexical representations is observed at 144 ms (Toscano et al., 2018), and evidence for integration of the input with semantic context is observed at 228 ms (Sarrett et al., submitted). (b) These processes are highly overlapping in time. Effects of gradient information, driven by bottom‐up input from the speech signal, persist for at least 700 ms after stimulus onset. In addition, top‐down information driven by linguistic context influences initial cue encoding and processes that occur before semantic integration begins. This has been found in experiments investigating effects of lexical feedback (e.g., the Ganong effect; desk vs. tesk; Gow et al., 2008; Noe & Fischer‐Baum, in press), sentential context (e.g., The outer part of a tree is called bark. Sarrett et al., submitted) and semantic context (e.g., cross‐modal sequential semantic primes; AMUSEMENT park; Getz & Toscano, 2019)
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Neuroscience > Cognition
Psychology > Perception and Psychophysics
Psychology > Language

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